Advice re: most efficient route
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Aug 21, 2012 4:29 PM Last Post By: gypsytoes
Aug 19, 2012 9:00 AM
Advice re: most efficient routeWe have 3 weeks in Nicaragua coming up. We would like to start in Granada with 3-4 days. I'd like some advice on the best way to hit the remaining destinations with the least amount of backtracking (there will certainly be some backtracking). We are thinking of Isla de Ometepe (sailing there with Hacienda Merida from Granada), then SJDS (but staying in Playa Maderas or Marsella), But would also like to include Esteli and possibly Somoto. We usually like to stay 3-4 days in one place. We had contemplated the Corn Islands too but are now thinking our time is too short to get there & back overland and the flight will be a bit pricey since there are 4 of us, so we will likely pass on that. We have 2 kids, age 10 and 12, very good travellers. Any advice on route or suggestions on other highlights to hit are appreciated!
Aug 19, 2012 9:17 AM
1Maybe a good route would be Granada to Playas Marsella or Maderas, then to Isla de Ometepe, sail back to Granada from there, then up towards Esteli, backtracking back to Managua to fly out. How convenient would it be to hit another beach after Esteli and before flying out of Managua? Any recommendations on which beach?
Aug 20, 2012 5:14 AM
2I have never been sorry going to Ometepe, which is beautiful. The way I go is a bus from Granada to Rivas, where you can get either a mini bus or take a short taxi to the ferry at San Jorge. The boat ride over is lovely, with the volcano for a background. If you arrive at San Jorge at lunchtime or have to wait for a boat, there are some nice waterfront restaurants. Didn't like to see the poor chained monkey at one of them, however. There is also a beach at San Jorge.
Ometepe is a world apart and you can find budget places to stay and eat. Bring insect spray.
Aug 20, 2012 9:19 PM
3Here are my recommendations:
Depending on when you arrive:
Day 1-4: Granada. This would be a wonderful place to experience Christmas as there are many parades and activities in Granada at this time.
Day 4-7 Marsella or Maderas, near San Juan Del Sur. I would take a bus or a taxi to San Juan del Sur from Granada. It's easier and quicker.
Day 7-10 Ometepe Island ( my home) So many wonderful things to do here with kids. If you need any additional info, please PM me. Take a bus or a taxi from San Juan del Sur to San Jorge, then catch a ferry to the island.
Day 11-13 Leon. Catch the ferry into San Jorge and an express bus to Managua. Or you can take a taxi to Leon for $70. The bus will drop you off at Roberto Huembes market, but then you want to get a taxi to take you to the UCA station, where you can catch a mini-bus to Leon. Leon is a great walking and touring city. Take the kids to the museums..they have a great bug museum there and a museum of legends and traditions of Nicaragua.
Day 13-15 Las Penitas beach near Leon. You can take a mangrove swamp tour on a boat, walk the lovely beaches, eat delicious sea food at Barca de Oro restaurant, and take an evening beach tour to watch the turtles lay eggs or the babies hatch.
You can extend these mini-vacations by a day or more and end up in Leon, which is an hour away from Managua for your flight back home.
Enjoy your trip. December is my favorite month in Nicaragua! The kids will love it!
Aug 21, 2012 2:12 PM
4I visited many of the same places with my children (then 6 & 9) last summer. The second half of our travels was much like what you are planning: 1. Ometepe to Esteli (private driver, I think $100, wanted to save time and not go through Managua) 2. From Esteli we did a homestay for 2 nights in the Miraflor reserve--the kids LOVED it. Horseback riding to small waterfall, hiking, milking cows, beautiful views, etc. 3. On to Leon (public bus, very easy), including a few days in las Peñitas. Yes, the riptides were very scary, but we spent most of the time swimming in the inlet, which was lovely. We did the mangrove tour too, which I recommend. In Leon we also went with a tour agency to Cerro Negro and tobaggoned down the volcano, something exciting for the kids. 4. Shuttle to Managua airport the same day our flight left. Oh, and we began our trip in Laguna de Apoyo, which was absolutely lovely. My kids loved swimming in the warm lake, jumping of the dock, etc. We arrived there (via hotel driver) from the airport at night, and it seemed perfectly safe--no one ever warned me against it (and it's about halfway to Granada from Managua). Enjoy your trip--we loved Nicaragua!
Aug 21, 2012 4:29 PM
5I think the only warning when coming from the Managua airport at night is if you get a taxi at the airport...which I would never recommend doing. I've been picked up many times late at night by Paxeos and my friendly taxi driver friend and NEVER experienced any problems. You won't have any problems. :-)
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